Why Sonia Gandhi would like to sit in the opposition in the next Lok Sabha!
It sounds weird, isn’t it? Why would the president of a national political party like to lose the general elections of the country? Not sure, if Sonia Gandhi really thinks so, but I would certainly suggest her to do so for the benefit of her party and accession of his son to the post of prime minister. Losing the 2014 election can be the sacrifice by Sonia Gandhi to avoid unstable and damaging situations for the Congress post-2014. As they say, “Kuch pane ke liye kuch khona padta hai (You have to sacrifice something to gain something).” If Sonia Gandhi decides to sacrifice the dream to win the 2014 elections, it will help her in the long run. Let me explain how.
The bigger picture for the 2014 is still not much clear. The recent results of the 5 state elections too haven’t given any clear indication regarding the grand finale that is scheduled in 2014. As the national parties Congress and BJP had not much at stake in these elections, these results won’t impact the national scenario after 3 years. The results of these five states have some indications for the Congress though. On the face, it may look like a Congress led UPA victory in 4 out of 5 states that went for poll but the results may increase the problems for the Congress high command. Mamata Banarjee with a clear majority on her own will now grow bigger in the UPA and won’t think much to jump off the UPA ship if she gets a hint that the ship will sink. A close contest in Kerala must have surprised the Congress leaders too. A sound drubbing at the hands of the voters of Tamil Nadu will also force them to rethink about their poll equations. With a fast growing ally in Trinamool and fast diminishing ally in DMK (these two are Congress’ biggest ally in this UPA), the power equations of Congress may get unbalanced. The sound victory in Assam may not mean much as Assam’s influence on the national scene is very limited.
But what will worry the grand old party the most is the indefensible charges of corruption. The opposition parties will not let such powerful ammunition slip out of their hands and most certainly keep the issues of corruption burning till the general elections. So far the opposition has done fairly good job to embarrass the govt. using the corruption complaints. With elections approaching, an aggressive and hungry for power BJP may trouble the Manmohan Singh govt. the most. The internal situations of the Congress will add to the woes of the govt. And the only way to tackle these situations is by sitting in the opposition in the next Lok Sabha.
It is very much unlikely that the Congress will fight the next election with Manmohan Singh as the candidate for the PM post. This is for A. his age of 81 (in 2014) and Congress’ agenda to attract youth will not be coherent and B. with Manmohan Singh the image of a helpless PM not being able to control his ministers from creating new scams will persist which the Congress would like to do away with. Congress may strike a deal with Manmohan with an offer of the President of India post in the future and look for other alternatives for the PM post.
If not Manmohan, then who? Sonia Gandhi will not like to destroy the image she has created for her by ‘sacrificing’ the PM post in 2004 by making herself available for the same post in 2014. Then Rahul Gandhi? Absolutely no chance. (A piece of advice to the BJP here: Don’t waste too much of your energy before Rahul Gandhi). Chances of Rahul being made the PM candidate in 2014 is next to zero. With no experience, no crucial political achievement to his name, Sonia Gandhi (and Rahul too) should know that the move to fight election with the prince charming as the Prime Ministerial candidate will be a huge blunder. The charges of dynastic politics will sound more credible if Sonia Gandhi plans to impose her inexperienced son as the proposed PM. While it is no secret that she wishes to see Rahul as the PM but she has to wait. With failure of the ‘young’ Gandhi to garner votes in Bihar, Tamil Nadu (where he participated in the poll preparations actively), the accession plan of Rahul Gandh has gone horribly wrong. And this is the biggest worry for the Congress. They are left with a few names: Pranab Mukerjee, P Chidambaram. Pranab Mukerjee had declared that he wouldn’t remain active in politics in the next Lok Sabha. Still he may decide to bail out Congress from the leadership dilemma if Congress leadership requests him. (Pranab da’s prime ministerial aspirations are no secret). But again his age doesn’t fit into Congress’ long term youth centric (read Rahul centric) plans. Again the other contender P Chidambaram will try his best to stop Pranab and make ground clear for his rise to the top post.
But P Chidambaram will be a thorn in flesh for Rahul Gandhi’s future plans. If P Chidambaram becomes the PM, his power in the congress circles will reach to ultimate level and he being young can also hijack the whole Congress youth strategies. Even if Congress is ousted from power in 2019 elections, it will be tough to reduce PC’s size unless Chidu himself makes some awful mistakes.
Call it irony, but India’s oldest political party depends too much on the Gandhi dynasty for unity among its ranks. Congress was a divided house before Sonia agreed to lead it and same may happen if anyone other than Rahul Gandhi becomes its leader (Shameful, isn’t it?). And as we discussed above Rahul can’t take that place in 2014. Rahul Gandhi can be given the leader of opposition post after the 2014 election. He can learn and increase his experience by performing his job of a democratic post. He can also earn public goodwill and make his PM candidature strong for the next election. Something what Sonia Gandhi did before defeating the NDA government in 2004. Considering these scenarios, losing the 2014 Lok Sabha election is the safest option in front of Sonia Gandhi. For the long run benefit, she has to do this unthinkable: plan to lose an election. By the way if the public of India makes its mind to show Congress the exit path, she need not even administer this option.
UPDATE: This post has been selected for Blogadda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks. BlogAdda has started ‘Tangy Tuesdays’ and ‘Spicy Saturdays’ where BlogAdda picks up good posts from Indian blogosphere and serves it to the readers on Tuesdays and Saturdays. This way, good posts are acknowledged and readers get to read quality content. This is also an opportunity for everyone to interact even more in fruitful discussions. Thank you blogadda for selecting my post this week for the honour. 🙂